But I'm not sure what to do to help my 4 yo understand the concept of disagree appropriately. It seems too complex for her. She will go through the script and ask to dis. app. and do it, but she seems genuinely confused that she doesn't always get her way when she does this. I try to let her get her way as much as possible when she dis. app., but it just isn' t practical for her to change my mind every time she dis. app. How do I help her understand the concept or modify the routine to fit her understanding?
Thank you!" ~ (question from the TSG forum page)
Disagreeing Appropriately is a perfect skill for your children to learn. It sounds like you are implementing it great! Showing then it works whenever possible is great for teaching them that self-government has it's positive consequences.
It sounds like you need to do two things.
1. Practice (role play) disagreeing appropriately when it isn't a real issue and when she gets to pretend being you. Maybe you want to color on her baby doll or something and she tells you no and you disagree appropriately, but she has to still tell you no because it wouldn't be a good choice. This will help her see why sometimes the answer has to be no. Be sure to praise her for the role plays. Role play multiple times each day for a week or so.
2. After you have role played, then you are ready to pre-teach and have her understand a no answer. So, after she disagrees appropriately be sure to pre-teach that up-coming no answer. Remind her how to accept a no answer and tell remind her how you have practiced accepting a no after a proper disagreement.
These two things should help you.
Remember to keep showing that the appropriate disagreement works a lot of time though. Saying no for everything will teach your children that disagreeing appropriately isn't really effective for good communication. They need to feel understood.
For more help impelmenting the Teaching Self-Government principles the best resource is the 10 Step Implementation Course